We live in a world full of chaos, which sometimes leaves us feeling hopeless and helpless.
As someone working with UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, we try our best to cut through the noise, to tell the stories of families displaced by violence, persecution or war, hoping to be able to offer a glimmer of hope and change to the life of refugee families. We highlight the resilience of refugee families, who need our support to be able to afford basic needs, especially in times like winter, where the harsh reality of the weather combined with economic crises makes affording the basics of daily living a challenge, and hope that by telling these stories we can remind people of their struggles and needs.
While at times we feel helpless when taking on this task, we often also find ourselves inspired by individual initiatives which remind us that change can happen, doing good is not exclusive to humanitarian workers, and that there is a community of people who are ready to step up and help when called upon.
They remind us that each one of us can make a difference, no matter who we are and where we come from and no matter how small or big our support. What matters is to take action!
One such example is the latest collaboration between UNHCR and AboFlah, that gives me faith in the beating heart and empathy of the Arab audience. To recap, last week, the well known YouTuber AboFlah, reached 20 million subscribers on his account. For this milestone, AboFlah, decided to celebrate by facilitating a drive to change the life of more than 5,700 refugee families.
For 28 hours, he sat glued to his chair facing the camera, humanizing the refugee crisis and the struggles displaced families face through the winter season, for millions of his viewers. He described how sometimes mothers have to make difficult choices, from having to decide which child takes medicine to picking between buying food or fuel for heat and warmth and helped bring the story to the forefront.
Like AboFlah, the people watching took their stand saying to the whole world, that refugee and internally displaced families suffering should not be the norm. Together they raised an incredible US $1,000,000 securing winter assistance for more than 5,700 families.
They were able to support 28,000 children, parents, elderly with timely humanitarian assistance, helping them afford food, warmth and shelter, just before winter starts. These families, because of the kindness of AboFlah and every donor, are now able to pay towards their rent, buy blankets or heating stoves, medicine or food.
So from myself and the team at UNHCR, to everyone who donated $5 or $80,000, to AboFlah and everyone who watched, tweeted, shared, commented or even simply prayed, a heartfelt thank you!
Thank you, for giving us and displaced families hope. Hope in voices who say: refugees suffering should not be the norm.
Thank you for making change, for making noise and for being the lifeline refugees needed in the time of crisis.
Thank you for “Warming Their Hearts”, and ours.